As an Emmy Award winner, Richard T. Wilson serves as the President/Writer-Filmmaker of RTW Productions, Inc., home to the nationally recognized educational film company, Outreach Arts, Inc., and its award-winning, sister company, Mad Shelley Films/Comics (which has published Halloween Girl). He currently has over 70 of his plays and films produced.
You can imagine how excited we were that Richard, author of the Halloween Girl series, took time from his multitude of projects to sit down with Quinn, who is our biggest Halloween aficionado and resident goth. You can read our reviews of the first two volumes here and here to see our thoughts.
How did you get your start in comics?
As I was winding up my filmmaking career, I began to realize I still ached to tell these stories about the ‘Halloween Girl’ and her world. Long story short, as a big fan of graphic novels (like ‘Sandman’), I decided to immerse myself in learning the format with the hope that I might continue the stories there. I didn’t tell a soul I was attempting this since I knew my heart would be broken enough if I failed! However, as I started adapting the original film (‘The Halloween Girl’) to the graphic novel format, I realized it was working — and that I’d never enjoyed writing anything more in my life!
This latest volume focused far more on the human realm. What made you decide to shift gears and tell this story for Charlotte?
A couple things… After the great reception Book One received, people were curious about Charlotte’s back story. So, I decided to take another crack at adapting the old film script, marrying it a little more with the first book. However, I think I really wanted to send my Mom some more love, since her passing in 2014 was the impetus for ‘The Halloween Girl’ film.
Working as a writer, which aspect of the process do you enjoy the most?
I really enjoy it all! From the early notebook full of diary notes (essentially, me talking out loud to myself!) to the final polish, I’m all in. But since I consider all art a conversation anyway, I definitely have a soft spot for dialogue. Always sounds like beautiful music to me…
Which do you find most challenging and why?
The aftermath – when you realize how much a particular story has taken out of you. This year in particular, I did the ‘Halloween Girl’ adaptation and a series of stories that came out of nowhere for a new, horror anthology I’m putting out next year (‘Hemlock Ave’). No big deal – except these are the most personal stories I’ve ever written! To say these stories changed my life would not be hyperbole; they were like some strong drink from the Universe – and I’m still recovering!
What music do you listen to while you write, if any?
Music is my favorite art form – and I love writing to it (The Cure’s ‘Disintegration’ anyone?). In fact, I just saw my favorite band a little over a week ago, the Psychedelic Furs! I write listening to Bowie, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, The Beatles, The Who, REM, The Polyphonic Spree – and the great Charlotte Martin, among others! In fact, Charlotte wrote an original song last year to help promote the ‘Halloween Girl’. She’s been such an inspiration over the years that I even named the ‘Halloween Girl’ character after her. It’s surreal to think we’re friends now!
How has writing Halloween Girl affected your own view of Halloween?
I probably sense the veil between the living and the dead a little more. There’s just a greater sense of melancholy mixed in with the celebration now.
Has anything changed in the way you celebrate or think about the holiday?
After a very difficult couple of years for me personally, I now embrace the holiday even more. Halloween is just a big part of who I am—always has been. Now, I try and fill October with more fun Halloween activities than ever before—the season just brings me a ton of joy. It’s like stocking the creative pantry for the long winter ahead.
Which character do you most relate to in the world of Halloween Girl?
Well, Charlotte and Poe are just the two halves of my personality, so, that’s an easy one!
Who are your strongest creative influences, in any field?
Overall, it’s David Bowie – I definitely belong to that creative tribe! However, Dickens was the first artist that really changed my life when I saw Richard Williams [sic] animated version of ‘A Christmas Carol’ on TV as a little boy. I realized you could tell important stories and still entertain people. As time went on, that was reinforced by seeing the original ‘Planet of the Apes’ films and ‘All in the Family’ – they were my original writing teachers.
What made you decide to use one artist for this volume, rather than the chapter switches used in the previous?
Illustrator, Eleonora Garofolo and letterer, Carlotta Cesareo were the only choices for this very emotional book due to their incredible depth of feeling. They only deepened an already emotional story with their incredible artistic gifts and innate passion for the tale. Their work just jumps off the page!
If you could visit the In-Between, who would you look for?
My Mom and Grandmom cooking breakfast on a snowy day as I looked out the window at my Uncle Chip’s giant, snow-covered Fir Tree. And after breakfast, I’d look for everyone else…
What are your general thoughts on the current indie comic book industry at this time for independent creators? Any general advice you would give to upcoming creators?
I think there’s a great vacuum that’s waiting to be filled in the arts in general. When society became fame and money-obsessed in the 90’s, we stopped having a lot of room for anything meaningful. Some of the ‘artists’ that came out of that period reflect that slide into mediocrity – and it’s just gotten worse since then. That’s not to say there aren’t some great things happening out there but, damn it, we need a new Romantic Age!
As a fan of horror, what scares you the most?
Easy – ‘The Exorcist’. Demonic possession never fails to scare me to death.
What is the best way for people to keep up to date with what you are working on? Are there any upcoming projects you would like to shout out?
You can follow Mad Shelley Comics on X, Instagram, Facebook or Threads – or just visit our website.
HALLOWEEN GIRL Book Two: Dead Reckoning releases on Oct. 1st and for those in the PA area, we’re sponsoring a screening of the ‘Son of Frankenstein’ at the great Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA that day – and giving away a hundred free copies of the new book! So, come on out and celebrate Spooky Season with us!!
This interview was provided exclusively to The Grimoire of Horror by Richard T. Wilson.
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Hello, I’m Quinn. Saying I’m deeply into fashion and Japanese culture is an understatement. We’ve renovated entire rooms of our house to dedicate to my collections of lolita and other Japanese fashions. I enjoy balancing the cute with the macabre, and the more disturbing it is, the more I’ll enjoy it. Thus, my love for Asian horror and manga was born. Thank you for taking the time to read my writings. I look forward to discussing films and aesthethics with you!